Morning Report 5/31/05
Iraq Strategy: Addition by Distraction
Nothing like a celebrity trial to distract people from their problems. Apparently, that's the latest strategy from the Bush regime's puppet administration in Baghdad.
Or is the puppet really Chucky? Subduing Iraq was going to be child's play, according to the smug predictions by Paul Wolfowitz and Don Rumsfeld, and George W. Bush's handlers told him to declare in May 2003, "Mission accomplished."
Summer heat, no electricity, Baghdad encircled by soldiers, civil war in Iraq, the war on Social Security in America—let's give everyone the circus of Saddam's trial.
- Keep in mind that all of this is against the backdrop of well over 50% unemployment, horrendous traffic jams, and an infrastructure in shambles that continues to degrade with next to no reconstruction occurring in Baghdad.
"Electricity shut offs drive us crazy in this hot summer," one of my friends wrote me recently, "Even we can't read at night because of long hours of electricity cuts and because the outside generators can't withstand running these long hours and we have to turn these generators off for some time to cool them!"
He continues, "Two years of occupation—for God sake, where is the rebuilding, where the hell are these billions donated to Iraq? Even not 1% improvement in services and electricity! They say again and again the terrorists are to blame and I would accept this, but why they do not protect these facilities? Do the American camps have cuts of electricity? No, no, and nobody will allow this to happen … but poor Iraqis, nobody would be sorry for them if they burn with the hell of summer, small kids and old men they get dehydrated because no electricity, no cold water, etc. Have you heard about the tea that is mixed with iron particles? It is real in our life. People have to make sure their tea is not mixed with iron by use of magnets."
Aw, quit your bitchin'. Iraq can be a great place in the summer—if you have connections. While Iraqis suffer in squatter camps or in their own paralyzed cities, U.S. soldiers and officials have seized Saddam's palaces and turned them into lush headquarters. And back in July 2003, grateful U.S. soldiers spent time at a mountain resort next to Lake Dukan in northern Iraq (see photo below).
The Kurdish proprietors, at the behest of U.S. pal Jalal Talabani, gave them the run of the place—swimming pool, showers, air conditioning:
- "There isn't a better place in Iraq to spend my 4th of July," [one soldier] said. He added, with a sly grin, he wished he could spend more time at Lake Dukan, maybe even finish out his tour at the resort.
Now, Talabani is the president of the chaotic country. And it looks as if his strategy (and maybe the Pentagon's) is to distract everyone with the long-awaited show trial of Saddam. As Luke Baker of Reuters reported today:
- Saddam Hussein could go on trial for crimes against humanity within two months, far earlier than expected, Iraq's new president, Jalal Talabani, said on Tuesday.
Asked in an interview televised on CNN when Saddam's trial would begin, Talabani said: "I hope within two months."
Leading Iraqi politicians have said several times that the trial could start within months. But Iraqi prosecutors and their U.S. advisers say a trial is more likely in 2006, after several of Saddam's lieutenants have been tried, to help build the case against the former dictator.
Iraqi leaders hope that trials of Saddam and his allies will help restore public confidence, sapped by relentless insurgent violence and political bickering that delayed the formation of a cabinet for months.
Maybe there's a dispute between the Bush regime and Kurdish leader Talabani, who's an unwilling puppet, unlike the country's former puppet ruler, the gangster Ayad Allawi. Maybe the Pentagon likes the idea of distracting the press and public with a Saddam trial. Or maybe everyone just wants to hurry up and start the trial before all the judges—like Barwiz Mahmoud Marwani—are assassinated.